Starship’s delivery robots to be introduced to Cambridgeshire for service pilot
Food delivery robots will soon be taking to the streets of Cambourne as part of a pilot organised between Cambridgeshire County Council and Starship Technologies, the world’s leading provider of autonomous delivery services, in partnership with the Co-op.
The exciting tie-up will see 12,000 residents in 5,000 homes benefit from quick deliveries of products from their local Co-op, with customers receiving groceries from a fleet of Starship’s autonomous robots which will bring the items to their doorsteps.
The project, beginning on 17 May, is part of the council’s wide-ranging environmental agenda as it will help to reduce short car journeys and improve air quality, with an average delivery for a Starship robot consuming as little energy as boiling a kettle to make just one cup of tea.
Starship currently operates a fully commercial service in six countries around the world, including across university campuses in America and in local neighbourhoods here in the UK in Milton Keynes and Northampton.
The company was created by the co-founders of communications system Skype in 2014, and since launching commercial deliveries in 2018 Starship’s robots have travelled more than 4 million miles and safely completed more than 3.5 million deliveries to customers. Around the world, the robots are making 140,000 road crossings every day, equivalent to three road crossings every second.
The Cambridgeshire pilot will see residents living in Lower and Upper Cambourne able to order deliveries which are selected fresh locally from the Co-op store at 29 Mosquito Road in Upper Cambourne. A map showing who will be eligible to book deliveries can be viewed on Google. If the project is successful, Starship has signalled its intention to expand further across the county and use more suppliers, which in turn will lead to new jobs being created.
Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways and Transport Committee, said: “The partnership between the council and Starship is tremendously exciting and has the potential to make life easier for thousands of residents while also reducing congestion. Hopefully the trial will be a success which would allow us to extend the benefits of quick and easy deliveries to more people across the county.”
Cllr Mark Howell, member for Cambourne, added: “I’m delighted people living in my ward will now be able to enjoy the convenience of having small food deliveries dropped off at their front door. This will cut down on the number of small car journeys and save time. I would like to thank Starship for choosing Cambourne for the trial and I look forward to seeing how it goes.”
Andrew Curtis, UK operations manager at Starship Technologies, said: “We are very pleased to be bringing the benefits of on-demand, contactless grocery delivery to residents in Cambourne. In the last few years we have had extremely positive feedback from people using our service regularly in Milton Keynes and Northampton who have embraced the robots as part of their local communities. We’re looking forward to working closely with the council in Cambridgeshire and hopefully expanding the scope of this initial project.”
Chris Conway, Co-op eCommerce Director, said: “Co-op is committed to exploring new and innovative ways to increase access to its products and services. Our members and customers lead busy lives and ease, speed and convenience is at the heart of our approach. Co-op stores across the country are well placed to serve shoppers locally and a key part of our strategy is to further develop our ecommerce offer by using our store footprint to provide same-day, rapid, home deliveries. As a convenience retailer, the ability to come into stores will always be important to customers, but we also know that shoppers want flexible options online, and so we are focused on providing what our customers want and need, however and wherever they choose to shop with us.”
Starship’s robots, which are powered by zero carbon electricity, are advanced autonomous devices that can carry items over short distances without needing a driver. Orders are made through the Starship food delivery app, which is available for download on iOS and Android, with groceries picked fresh in local Co-op stores and delivered quickly and conveniently in as little as one hour or less.
Cambourne residents will be able to choose from a range of grocery items, schedule their delivery, then drop a pin where they want their delivery to be sent. They can watch in real-time via an interactive map as the robot makes its journey to them. Once the robot arrives they receive an alert and can meet and unlock it through the app.
The robots are lightweight and travel at the speed of a pedestrian (no faster than 4mph). They use a combination of sensors, artificial intelligence and machine learning to travel on pavements and navigate around any obstacles, while computer vision-based navigation helps them map their environment to the nearest inch.
Notes to editors
The media are invited to attend the launch of the trial at the Co-op store at 29 Mosquito Road, Upper Cambourne, CB23 6FJ.
The event is being held on Tuesday, 17 May from 10am.
There will be opportunities for filming and photography of the robots and interviews with representatives from Cambridgeshire County Council, Starship Technologies and the Co-op.
Please confirm your attendance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For any media enquiries on the day, Sarah Silk can be contacted on: 07795 302341.
About Starship Technologies
Starship Technologies is revolutionising deliveries with autonomous robots. The robots are designed to deliver food, groceries and packages locally in minutes. The delivery robots have travelled millions of miles and completed more than 3.5 million autonomous deliveries around the world. Starship was founded by Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis (Skype chief architect and co-founder) and Alastair Westgarth is the CEO.
Website: https://www.starship.xyz/follow / starshipdeliveries.com
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Cambridgeshire County Council
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Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with interests across food, funerals, insurance, legal services and energy. Owned by millions of UK consumers, the Co-op operates over 2,500 food stores, over 800 funeral homes and provides products to over 5,100 other stores, including those run by independent co-operative societies and through its wholesale business, Nisa Retail Limited. Employing over 62,000 people, the Co-op has an annual turnover of £11.2 billion. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Co-op is a recognised leader for its social goals and community-led programmes. The Co-op exists to meet members’ needs and stand up for the things they believe in.
For further information: Andrew Torr; Co-op Press Office; M: 07702505551; E: Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org